Project Partner UNIABDN Builds Bridges between Science and Law in the UN

BlueRemediomics Project Partners from the University of Aberdeen, Prof Abbe Brown (Law) and Prof Marcel Jaspars (Chemistry) have been contributing to international policy-making in three UN institutions to bring about a fair, science-informed and legally consistent approach to policy-making. Their collaboration focused on the use which is made of genetic resources to gain new knowledge and build new products.

Link to BlueRemediomics:

This work links in with the Access and Benefit sharing (ABS) part of the BlueRemediomics project. As interest in the ocean’s microbiome gains momentum, so does the push to ensure that the discoveries benefit everyone. A key pillar of BlueRemediomics is devoted to finding better ways to make sure that the discoveries benefit both the people or countries using the resources and the people and countries that provide them.

The University of Aberdeen leads Work Package 5 in BlueRemediomics, which engages with policy developments for ABS and IP, helping to shape new approaches to governance and value of ocean genetic resources.

There is currently no hierarchy between existing ABS treaties, which arise in different international fora, including the Nagoya Protocol, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and ongoing discussions at the World Health Organization regarding a new Pandemic Accord. Brown and Jaspars from UNIABDN are working towards delivering an integrated solution to these diversity of regimes which works from science, law and policy perspectives, including contributing to what is actually to be the appropriate term in treaties regarding digital sequence information. 

On 22 November 2023 Abbe attended the 10th session of the Governing Body meeting of the Plant Treaty in Rome, where DSI (Digital Sequence Information) on Genetic Resources was one of the hotpoints being explored. After scientific colleagues stressing the need for a harmonized approach, she explored the detailed engagement with the need for coherence, notably in relation to DSI, across several international legal regimes (WHO, BBNJ, Plant Treaty, CBD). 

Read the full article on this topic by the University of Aberdeen below!